Posts Tagged With: beer tasting

New Zealand Beers: Honeymoon Drinking

At the end of last month I got married and the next day we boarded a flight destined for New Zealand.

Whilst we travelled through the country, starting in Auckland and finishing in Christchurch, I managed to get my hands on – and more importantly – drink a few of the beers brewed in New Zealand.

Given that I have nothing new to write about, regarding my own home brew adventures, I thought I would whip up this quick post detailing the beers and my hazily remembered thoughts – I didn’t take any notes at the time, so memory will have to do in this instance I’m afraid!

Mac’s Sassy Red

Mac's Sassy Red

Mac’s Sassy Red

This turned out to be the beer I drank the most when we were out in restaurants, or when I popped out to buy a six-pack from the local shop (my way of avoiding the extortionate mini bar charges!).

It was definitely my favourite beer over there. Brewed with a combo of 5 different malts, the beer was a real pleasure to drink.  A nice amber colour with a nutty, almost biscuit-like flavour. I couldn’t get enough of it once started.

I also tried Mac’s Gold and Mac’s Black but this was the jewel in Mac’s crown for me.

Black Duck Porter

Black Duck Porter

Black Duck Porter

Whilst in Napier we stumbled, completely by accident, into the best restaurant we visited in New Zealand – Pacifica. If you are ever in Napier then I couldn’t recommend the place enough.

Spotting a local beer on the menu I opted to try the Black Duck Porter. Being in a wine region, I believe that the brewery has done an interesting thing with their bottle design. It almost looks as if it should be holding champagne, not beer.

Anyway, this porter was fantastic. Nice and dark with a strong malty presence. I remember being very impressed with the subtle balance of coffee and burnt caramel flavours.

I’ve often found with porters that they can sometimes lean, taste wise, too far towards chocolate but this one was perfectly balanced. A definite must-try if you ever see it on a shelf.

TuaTara London Porter

TuaTara London Porter

TuaTara London Porter

Another Porter. I prefer darker, richer beers and this again did not disappoint.

I don’t have a very strong recollection of my thoughts on this beer. Compared to the previous two. It was definitely enjoyable with a nice dark colour with the trademark dark roast malts, chocolate and coffee flavourings of a Porter.

However, nothing really sticks out in my mind. This isn’t because the beer was poor, but more that it did not surprise and excite me in the way that the previous beers mentioned in this post did.

In the battles of the Porters, the Black Duck won it for me.

So that’s that. I did try others, but I can’t for the life of me remember what they were. Also, these were the only 3 that I thought to take a picture of.

Perhaps, if I had some visual stimulus to help, I would remember what else I tried!

All in all, I do not remember once having a bad beer over in New Zealand. I’ll need to go back to try some more!

Categories: Thoughts on Beer | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Whitbread Mackeson Clone – Tasting

Initially the plan was to leave my recent home brew attempt for around a month to settle down – if you read any of my previous posts regarding this batch you’ll know I had a couple of things go array during the brewing process (perhaps the worst being the temperature being too high for around 24 hours when it was first fermenting).

So it is fair to say I was prepared for some off flavours in this one.

However, my plan to hold out for a month lasted just seventeen days. What can I say… curiosity got the better of me.

I also blame Lord Sugar, as my fiancée is an Apprentice fan and this week they were set a task of selling beer – how could I not try my own when beer was on the TV.

The Tasting

First off, I forgot to take a photo of the beer. I may add one at some point, but for reasons you are about to find out, that won’t be for a while.

Anyway, I opened my first bottle and was happy to hear the resounding hiss and sizzle as the CO2 escaped to freedom. The beer poured well (straight into the glass in fact) and I was pleased with the colour and head.

It had a nice roasted aroma. The first sip blew away my worries over the potential off flavours – however, this didn’t last long.

First impressions were that the beer had a slight nutty, roasted flavour and finished well with an earthy almost black pepper taste. I was impressed.

But then I got about half way through the pint and started to notice a quite undesirable (but bearable) bitter tang that seemed to be gripping the sides of my tongue.

As the glass emptied this taste became more prominent and started to border on the unpleasant.  So, obviously, I tried another – just to make sure. Again it started well but as the glass was consumed that bitter tang remained.

Time Will Tell

I always had an inkling that the 24 hours spent fermenting at around 26C was going to take its toll on the flavour, so I wasn’t too disappointed – I’d prepared myself for such an outcome.

However, ever the optimist, I’m going to leave the remaining bottles for a month or possibly two to find out if the bitterness will eventually drop and mellow out.

Categories: Batch Review | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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